Children need opportunities to be creative. With the arts as their tools, they can share their fast-growing wealth of thoughts, feelings and experiences, consolidating their learning in the process. Yet, teachers tell me, there’s little room for creativity in today’s curriculum. However often I hear this, it’s always shocks me, though I can see it for myself in the details of that curriculum.
Besides the curricular pressures that our government-run schools face, there are the budgetary ones, of course. Many schools struggle to afford the artistic enrichments one would hope for in a child’s education, such as theatre trips, music-making, new books and author visits. And to compound these constraints, there seems to be precious little time in the day for anything as intangible as dreaming, wondering or exploring. What with daily assemblies, constant pupil testing, the teaching of “British values” and all the other demands on the timetable, there’s little time over for creative freedom. But we must find means and ways, or our children will simply bottle everything up until they burst or wilt, and miss out on that vital aspect of their education. Thanks to the determination and ingenuity of teachers, some opportunities are still – somehow – found but, as they tell me themselves, they are never enough.
Whatever the result of June’s general election and the outcome for education, let’s hope that, together, we can keep those opportunities open for messy, immeasurable, marvellous creativity, and keep pushing for more. It’s a “must-have” for our kids.